Japan and Russia: We need a better economic plan

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed Monday to step up work to realize planned joint economic activities on disputed islands off Japan’s northernmost main island of Hokkaido while making little progress on the territorial issue.


Photo credit to: https://www.scmp.com


In a press conference after their summit in Vladivostok, Abe renewed his commitment to concluding a post-World War II peace treaty with Putin, which Tokyo and Moscow have not signed due to the dispute of several islands.


A road map was approved by the two heads of state to realize the activities on the islets in five areas which were agreed on in 2017; the previous year. These are aquaculture, greenhouse farming, tourism, wind power and waste reduction.


Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kotaro Nogami briefed reporters on the two countries deciding to help cultivate sea urchin in the sea. Also, they both agreed to farm strawberries in greenhouses but remained silent on the location of any project.


Both Japan and Russia are building each other’s trust through such activities to pave the way for settling the decades-long territorial disputes over islands which are supposedly owned by Japan but are currently occupied by Russia.


Although both countries admit that it would be difficult to settle the peace treaty issue in the near future. Japan has said that it will continue to make efforts with their Russian counterparts in an attempt to bring the issue down. Putin also feels the same to his Japanese counterpart.


The islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and the Habomai islet group, called the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kurils in Russia, were seized by the Soviet Union after Japan surrendered in August 1945; ending World War Two.


Whether or not the two countries can put their petty differences aside and work to compromise and reconcile past mistakes is not yet made clear. However, the fact that both countries are working together is the beginning of a good future.


Reference: Abe, Putin agree to promote economic programs on disputed islands


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